Well it’s a spooky, gloomy time of year, so I thought I’d mention the bandstand at Arnold Circus. It always strikes me as such an eerie place. It was built in the 1890s on top of a mound of rubble left from the demolition of the Friars Mount slum, which was replaced with the elegant red-brick Boundary Housing estate that still surrounds it, one of the earliest social housing estates.
The bandstand also appeared in the teen prostitute movie Stella Does Tricks – which, I just found out, was written by the brilliant Scottish writer and comedian AL Kennedy, author of the skullf*** novel Paradise. I saw that film long before I saw the bandstand, and have always found it a strangely isolated place in the middle of so much life. At the same time, it’s beautiful and atmospheric. And then it struck me – it’s the perfect place, in this crowded corner of the world, to break up with someone. Continue reading
Although not a cat person I think this little painting is quite lovely, and I do hope the council overlooks it. It’s painted onto the wall of what I think of as the black palace, a big warehouse on the corner of Coate and Garner Street, just off Hackney Road.
PS Any knitters out there might want to visit http://warmwomen.wordpress.com/
A friend of a friend is knitting warm scarfs etc for Karen women on the Burmese border and will be sending off a bundle on December 1st. If you would like to contribute a creation of your own then get in touch with her through the blog.
The steady, determined and very welcome march of Australian baristas into the deepest corners of Hackney continues. First there was Climpson and Sons in Broadway Market. Then came Tina, We Salute You in Dalston, and now, just a short walk from my flat, we are all very happy to welcome Wilton’s, on Wiltons Way.
This one is tres, tres Sydney, down to the ‘Lido Breakfast’ of yogurt and muesli and the broad Aussie accent of the bloke making the coffee (although they still have sausage butties on the menu, it’s not a complete betrayal of the British breakfast). And they don’t just do coffee and stuff. They also have a radio station and exhibitions!
Another south-east London dispatch, this time to a soon-to-be-demolished council flat in at 157 Harper Road in Elephant and Castle, which has been transformed by artist Roger Hiorns into a grotto of blue crystals.
It’s a small flat – and as you enter, passing a scrap of sixties wallpaper still intact, you walk first into an ordinary, bare living room and kitchen. It’s dark and dirty, with a stench of years and years of habitation gone stale, and the boarded-over windows make it especially dingy. Then you turn back and left into what must have been the bedroom and bathroom, which are now covered in rich blue copper sulphate crystals, sharp to the touch. And that is it. The bathroom entrance is so encrusted with crystals that there’s barely room to squeeze through, and very little room in the bathroom anyway.
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